School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Amanda Dunnagan


attrition, retention, retention rate, persistence, online retention, online mentors


Education | Online and Distance Education


This study investigated the strength of the relationship between peer-mentoring and retention rates of online undergraduate and graduate college students. Extant literature has reported consistently lower retention rates within the online college student community when compared to the retention rates of on-campus students. One possible means for countering low retention rates is providing a mentoring program to online students, which has had a positive effect on the retention rates of on-campus students, as reported by various studies. This quantitative correlational study examined the association between peer-mentoring and retention rates of online undergraduate and graduate students. The study utilized a sample size of 30 participants enrolled in a medium-sized suburban university located in the southeastern portion of the United States. Individuals were current undergraduate and graduate-level students. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: access to peer-mentoring or non-access to peer-mentoring. After collecting and triangulating enrollment data retrieved from university offices of admissions, financial aid, and registrar, the researcher used Fisher’s Exact Test analysis to determine the level of association between variables. A discussion of the results, limitations, and recommendations for future research is also provided.